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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Michigan State loses third straight on the road to No. 2 Purdue

MSU+graduate+guard+Tyson+Walker+lays+the+ball+up+around+Purdue+senior+center+Zach+Edey+on+Saturday%2C+Mar.+2%2C+2024+at+Mackey+Arena.+
Jack Moreland
MSU graduate guard Tyson Walker lays the ball up around Purdue senior center Zach Edey on Saturday, Mar. 2, 2024 at Mackey Arena.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. –  On Saturday night, Michigan State took on No. 2 Purdue at Mackey Arena, looking to snap a two-game skid against one of the nation’s premier teams. 

In one of college basketball’s toughest environments, MSU fell to the Boilermakers 80-74, coming up short in a game where the Spartans trailed by as much as 15 in the second half. 

Despite their success in playing through extensive foul trouble, particularly in the first half, the Spartans were limited on offense through the majority of the night, which at times led to ill-advised shot attempts and lineups devoid of spacing.

Mady Sissoko and Jaden Akins, who both started for MSU, played less than 10 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. 

Tyson Walker led the way for MSU, with a team high 14 points, but on 5-15 shooting. Akins and graduate forward Malik Hall finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively. 

Sophomore Tre Holloman was pivotal off the bench, recording eight points and running MSU’s offense for several stretches.

The Spartans shot only 39 percent from the floor, often enduring elongated cold stretches amidst constant lineup turnover.

“This team competed tonight, against a very good team in a very very very difficult atmosphere,” said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. “We put crowd noise in our building, we try to simulate, but you couldn’t simulate that. Hats off to Purdue.” 

Reigning National Player of the Year Zach Edey was dominant for Purdue, recording 32 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks, while going 9 of 15 from the floor and 14-20 from the free-throw line. 

MSU junior guard Jaden Akins (3) tries to prevent Purdue sophomore guard Braden Smith from driving to the basket on Saturday, Mar. 2, 2024 at Mackey Arena. (Jack Moreland)

The backcourt of sophomore Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith was also instrumental for the Boilermakers. Loyer recorded 15 points, while Smith had 23 points, nine rebounds, and three assists in 40 minutes. 

“I think the difference in this team is Smith,” said Izzo. “He just kinda runs the team, he doesn’t make many mistakes. He’s open, he hits his shots, he doesn’t force any shots. He’s as good a post passer as I’ve ever seen.” 

Loyer was 5-9 from the field and 4-6 from three, ending a shooting slump where he had only connected on two threes in the last six games. 

“[Loyer] killed us tonight. He got us up there. He was shooting 16 percent the last five games.”

MSU freshman forward Xavier Booker (34) sinks a three-pointer over Purdue senior center Zach Edey on Saturday, Mar. 2, 2024 in Mackey Arena. (Jack Moreland)

Freshman forward Xavier Booker gave MSU a much-needed boost, matching his season-high of 11 points in 12 minutes, but had lapses defensively that limited his time on the floor with Edey down low. 

“The last two, three weeks, both those guys I think have finally went from freshmen to sophomores,” said Izzo of Booker and forward Coen Carr, who logged nine minutes. 

After a scoreless first half, senior guard AJ Hoggard recorded eight points, four assists and three rebounds in 32 minutes. 

“I’ve got a good basketball team,” said Izzo. “I’m not saying it’s great, it’s good. We just can’t make these little mistakes. And our seniors, they’ve gotta play better. They just do. I gotta coach better, they’ve gotta play better. That’s the bottom line. And if they continue to compete like they did tonight, we’ll play better.” 

MSU returns to the Breslin Center for the final home game of the season against Northwestern on Wednesday, March 6, at 7:00 p.m. 

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About the Contributors
A.J. Evans
A.J. Evans, Sports Editor
A.J. Evans (He/Him/His) is the Sports Editor at Impact 89FM. He is from Southfield, Michigan and is majoring in journalism. He has covered football, women's and men's basketball for the Impact. “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it, and live the phrase sky’s the limit….see you chumps on top.” - Biggie  
Jack Moreland
Jack Moreland, Sports Photo Editor
Jack (he/him) is a Journalism major focusing in sports reporting and media photography. Growing up in nearby Okemos, Michigan, he has been a lifelong Spartan and is proud to sport the green and white. Jack is a big Baby Keem fan and is known to post on your block with your wishlist on you.

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